How to Share Privately With the New Google Reader | PCWorld Business Center

How to Share Privately With the New Google Reader | PCWorld Business Center.  (No longer available online. Original text included below.)

Google Reader is the first screen many people look at when they wake up. Likely the most popular RSS app, Reader has been a crucial information gathering and sharing tool for many. Google recently announced some changes to Reader, and today many are awaking to the new Reader, but many will not welcome some of the changes

No More Blues

The most noticeable change is the visual update. Google has been updating all of it’s services to look more like Google+, with less blues and more greys, and the now familiar black bar across the top of the screen. Reader finally recieved these updates, so it blends in more with the other apps, and looks very similar to the updated Gmail. 

Like No More

The “Like” button is one of the casualties. The button was previously used “to show your support for an item without necessarily adding a comment”, which is similar to what the new +1 button does. Moving forward, you can use the +1 button to show your “Like” for something, if you don’t mind that information being seen in your Google+ stream. Of more concern to some is the Likes they’ve already done. Old Likes weren’t migrated to Google+, so it’s like they’ve been erased. Google points out that you can download your data, so you can end up with a file that contains information about your likes, but what can you do with it? There is no comparable service you can upload those Likes to if you’d like that information to be accessible again.

Share via Google+

If you were using “Share”, it’s time to find a new way. Many relied on Reader’s built in sharing tool, which offered an easy way to privately share articles with specific people. No longer, the old sharing tools are gone, and in it’s place is Google+, which allows you to share with your circles. This, of course, will require everyone you share with to be on Google+. In our testing, publicly sharing an item, which is similar to the old “Like”, works well and is easy to do, just click the +1 button. Private sharing is another story. Despite using the +1 to do a limited share to a circle that contained one person, the item showed up on our public +1 tab in our Google Profile, even though the Google+ post confirmed it had limited visibility. 

A post shared to only one circle in Google+ as it appears in the Google+ stream, limited to myself and one other.

The post appears in the Google Profile +1 tab as viewed by “Anyone on the web”.


Either we’re not understanding how Google+ privacy works, or this is a bad bug for anyone that is privately sharing. If it is a bug, it will get fixed, and presumably this method of sharing could be an option at that point. Until then, another option is to use the “email” button for sharing. Click it, enter the email address of the person you’d like to share with, and any note you’d like to include. It works the same way it did in the past, and as long as you type the correct email address, is completely private.

Send To

Another option that I’m sure many will be investigating is the “Send To” button. Check your Reader settings and you’ll find a tab for configuring Send To, which has 14 built in services you can enable. Check the ones you’d like to use, which include Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Delicious, etc and you can send an article to that service, where it likely can be shared using that services tools. You can even add custom services to the list. We’ve added Evernote for easy archiving of research articles, and Remember the Milk as a way to create a reminder to read a post. There are bound to be many others, perhaps some that can replace the missing “Share”.

In the long run, life will go on, we’ll all find new ways to share, perhaps even better ways than we had. In the short term, it’s hard to develop new habits, and when something is working, why break it? We loved how Google Reader functioned, and like the new look, but being forced into Google+, especially if our privacy is the cost, leaves a bad taste in ones mouth. How are you dealing with it, and more importantly, have you found a new article sharing option?